.- The bishops of Bolivia recently issued a statement lamenting the animosity with which President Evo Morales has attacked the Catholic Church. The statement comes in the closing days of Moralesâ campaign to promote a âyesâ vote on the reform of the countryâs Constitution.
Last Tuesday at a rally in La Paz, Morales demanded that the bishops define a âclearâ position in support of the Constitution. âFor me, it is easy to understand that people are saying: âI am in agreement with half of it and in disagreement with the other.â But, there are two options here: We agree or we donât agree! Thereâs no middle ground, there are women and there are men, thereâs no in between. Or is there? As far as I know there isnât,â he said in direct reference to the bishops of the country.
On Wednesday, Morales demanded that Cardinal Julio Terrazas, Archbishop of Santa Cruz, âtell the truthâ to the people and âadmitâ that the Catholic Church âparticipated in the draftingâ of the new Constitution that was approved in Oruro on December 9, 2007, and in Congress on October 21, 2008.
âThe fathers of the Church, especially the Bishopsâ Conference, even drafted some articles and some have been included (in the new Constitution),â Morales accused.
The Bishopsâ Conference of Bolivia responded with a document expressing their âbewilderment and concern over the persistent attacks and criticism that the highest authority of the country is carrying out against Cardinal Julio Terrazas. These insults and accusations do not coincide with his high office and are solely for the purpose of diminishing the moral authority of the representatives of the Catholic Church.â
âWith regards to the Presidentâs accusations that the cardinal or the bishops would be co-authors of some articles in the proposed constitutional text, the Catholic Church calls to mind that her participation throughout the constitutional process has always been of public knowledge, through documents, reflections and timely exhortations.â
âThe Bishops Conference of Bolivia is concerned that while the Catholic Church contributes with calm, objective and respectful analysis to an electoral climate that is peaceful, critical and responsible, some government officials resort to insult and criticism,â the document concludes.